Obituary-James Mitchell

Published 12:05 pm Saturday, December 2, 2023

James Mitchell, who passed away over the summer, was born on April 7, 1932 to Anne and Guy Mitchell in Luverne. LouAnn Segrest Mitchell and James were childhood sweethearts and married in 1953. James and LouAnn were both raised in Luverne until heading to college at Auburn. They went on to have two children, Jim (deceased) and Jeff. 

James loved his time visiting family and cousins in Luverne, singing in the Methodist choir and playing tennis and golf with family and friends. 

James was an internationally recognized expert in aerospace ground testing and a former U.S. member of the Propulsion and Energetics Panel of the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD), the technical arm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Mitchell, who began his AEDC career in 1958, was chief scientist at the center from 1983-88, when he retired and accepted a job with Micro Craft Inc. in Tullahoma, Tenn.

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While at Micro Craft, Inc. he provided senior technical leadership in positions that included director of technical services; executive vice president – chief operating officer. 

He was recognized as one of the nation’s leading authorities on aeronautical ground test facilities. He had 55-plus years of experience in the aerospace industry.

Dr. Mitchell served on more than 20 of the nation’s most prestigious advisory boards and governmental agency committees including: the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; National Research Council Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Committee for review of aeronautical and space facilities; Past Member of the AGARD Propulsion and Energetics Panel; and Director of Research, Test and Evaluation Space Facilities Study for NASA.

He has more than 30 major publications relating to aeronautics ground testing to his credit. He has received many of the nation’s major professional awards and received the French “Medaille de l’Aeronautique” for contributions to international aeronautics.

Besides graduating cum laude from Auburn University, he also holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology; a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University and completed the Senior Executive Program at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia.

James is survived by his loving wife, LouAnn. Son, Jeff, his wife Carolyn and their two children Sarah and Sam.